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What a wasteful bunch we are.

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I remember the first Collector's Edition I ever bought. I was in 8th grade and Halo 2 just came out, inherantly one of the best days of being a gamer. I jammed down chinese food and wiped my hands clear before touching it. That alluring package.

The Halo 2 Collector's edition streigned my allowence-based income, but the price was reasonable. A cool $5 bucks above the price of a regular, boring Xbox game. It had a clear sleeve over a hard iron casing. Sealed within were two weighty tomes, a book of alien garble, and the instruction manuel. 

But, lo. Behind the razor-like disk was a second disk-based artifact containing scenes behind the game's production. Incredible! Acess to these treasures -- for five dollars? People expect an 80 or 150 dollar box of this and that nowadays.

Since then, the tin has scratched and caved in. Many years ago I snapped the commentary DVD back into the case after its last viewing, and I never sat down to read the alien book. 

I'm not really compaining. That was a hell of a good deal. But a few years and one sweating economy later, Collector's Editions are a lot more expensive. A lot bigger. 

Sounds okay as long as you keep away. But buying Halo 2 in 2004 was too effective an experience, some sort of consumer dopamine overload. Every green Xbox game I opened after that contained the same crap. Disk, manel, and the experience on the disk. What the hell was the point of that? Where was my shimmery-eyed, pumkin carriage unboxing rush?

Goddamn I've bought a lot of these things, man. Right next to Rock Band is Master Chief's head, which is next to a statue of Reach's faithfuls. All snuggled up in my attic.

In my closet is Pandora's Box, then the Peace Walker Box, then the StarCraft II Box, and beside that is the BioShock 2 -- err, tomb? It's the size of damn housing blueprints, the unrolled kind. The art book in there has roughly 30 of its 134 pages dedicated to doodles drawn by artists who were zoned out at meetings, and I counted 3 typos. 

No offence to figher fans, but I find no love in mashing buttons or memorizing alphabedical/joystiq code. But, here I am. Being an a$$hole, buying BlazBlue day-one because it's Collector's is flat cost. 

It's getting rediclous really. The last time I slipped was Diablo III, and I actually have a little touble regretting that one. The box is mad decent. Still, I have to talk myself down from the Infinite Premium Bird whatever they decided to call it, and StarCraft II's [potential] sitting buddy with the release of Swarm.

How much have I spent now? 500 bones? Likely not, maybe the number I'm looking for exceeds $1,000. That much could have net me a new mini-library of games. This is hardly an attack to lover's of a good CE, but really. Hit Ctrl + F and see how many times I use the word "thing." 

And that's all it really is. Just stuff. More plastic, more baggage. You look at that and start thinking about the psychology of a Collector's Edition.

Well, it's a couple of things. For starters, you have the opening of the box that causes all the good feelings mentioned above. If you are really hyped about a game, this is about where the feeling peaks. Unless the game is truely fantastic, here's the top.

Second, this stuff is a symbol of status on this very GameSpot, and other gaming forums. Think about it. In a discussion thread of a game, people are quick to tote their most recent account deduction. "Got my [most expensive version] all paid off!" Or, "I bought three!" One to open, one to [keep and look at] sell and another for the bath or shower. 

Thridly, if the game is really awesome. And I mean actually awesome, it feels good to look at that box and just know: there it is. That awesome experiece. And I have the best part of that experiece. Hey - sometimes this is appropriate we live in a [capitalist] democracy, so plant a corprate seed. Throw a little money, have a good time. 

And finally, you might actually be buying a valuble rarity with high sell-back potential. This is not usually the case. These are made en masse and should really be called a Hoarder's Edition. If people really wanted specialty gaming paraphanalia, they'd import from Japan.

What does it all mean? Well, part of our happiness is hogtied to these goody baskets, no surprises here. And even less surprising that one is never enough. 

Wasting money is a bad plan, and its about the games, right? No more of this incessent buying based experiences outside the game. 

I know, though, the urge will well up again. That primal need of deloucing tape from chasse, art book from plastic. In July of 2010 I started DD and that really helps.

Truthfully I don't know why I wrote this. You're gonna' keep buying it if you want it, and previous naysayers will continue to nay. 

But before you click that Add to Cart button, slide that card or pass that cash, just stop and think. Know that you're a victim of a consumer culture and your own greedy synapses. Then, buy that sh*t.

My Top Five Best Movies of the Year!

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2010 has been a really bizarre year for film. During these past twelve months I have seen some of the best movies of my life and some of the worst. Everything has been a little topsy-turvy in terms of my tastes as well. I'm really not a big action movie guy, but I found myself really wrapped up in 2010's more fact-paced showings.

The year also did little to nurture my guilty pleasure of horror movies with Daniel Stamm's "The Last Exorcism" offering one of the most deflating and disappointing closing scenarios in the genre. Saw 3D, the conclusion to my ultimate guilty pleasure, was a colossal disappointment with lines of dialogue worthy of latenight Lifetime programs.

There are a lot of honorable mentions here, too. "Kick-Ass," the film adaptation of the graphic novel by the same name was a hell of a movie. Directed by Matthew Vaughn, the man behind "Stardust" and "Snatch," offered a brutal yet fun movie with a lot of nice technical touches with its editing and Chloe Moretz had a memorable role. Adding to the off-kilter nature of this years films was a successful remake of "Let the Right One In," and hell, even the most recent Harry Potter movie was tolerable. Overall, this year has been great. Here are my choices for the best of the best starting with number five:

#5 WINTER'S BONE | Directed by Debra Granik
"I'm Ree, my dad's Joseph Dolly... I got a real bad need to talk to him."

It drives me to great disappointment when I think about how little buzz the movie generated among thriller fans. Despite its resounding critical acclaim and impact at the Sundance Film Festival, I hear little conversing of this masterpiece. For that reason, I wish to not let slip even a plot synopsis.

All you should know is that there is a powerful feeling of danger and peril that haunt the later scenes of this film. Once the intensity starts rolling, the concept of a mere bathroom break becomes inconceivable. Don't be like the rest of nation and go see this movie!

#4 BLACK SWAN | Directed by Darren Aronofsky
"I just want to be perfect."

After the critical and financial crash that was Aronofsky's "The Fountain," it's wonderful to see his later efforts hit in such a big way. While keeping 2000's "Requiem for a Dream" in mind, I now consider "Black Swan" to be his most powerful and penetrating work to date. There are two primary reasons why this film is so effective. First off, Natalie Portman's depiction of distressed ballet dancer Nina is believable and what her break-out role. The strains she experiences, both mentally, physically and sexually are disturbing and frightful.

The second bullet point to note is the fantastic utilization of handheld camera work. As the dancers spin about the stage, the audience is treated to a whirlwind of twirling costumes, blinding stage lights, and the shrill cries of orchestral strings, all while the camera perambulates around them, as if joining in the dance. These moments, and more, offer some of the most visually arresting moments of 2010 cinema.

#3 THE SOCIAL NETWORK | Directed by David Fincher
"The internet's not written in pencil, Mark. It's written in ink."

I believe that it's easy to watch the trailer for "The Social Network" and think to yourself, "Okay, here's a movie that wants to rake a few dollars off of the eCulture phenomenon Facebook; it probably sucks." To make such an assumption is not only incorrect, but also a disservice to what is one of the best screenplays I've had the pleasure of witnessing. Everyone is blisteringly quick and witty, sarcastic and intellectually profound. It's like watching a grand showdown of cognitive masters as they verbally smash and grind against each other - fantastic stuff.

I was surprised to see "The Social Network" nominated for its soundtrack this year, but upon reflection it actually feels well deserved. The music doesn't immediately harness attention but the solemn, reserved piano strokes play well alongside the eventual heartbreak towards the closing scenes of the movie. The script, excellent delivery and captivating momentum are all fantastic reasons to see this one - even if you know nothing about Facebook. Ultimately, "The Social Network" is a movie about people - and there isn't a soul alive who doesn't know about them.

#2 TRUE GRIT | Directed by Ethan Coen & Joel Coen
"There is nothing free but the grace of God."

I'll admit it, I have not loved the recent output of the brothers. While 2007's "No Country for Old Men" was well deserving of its best picture award, nothing since then has packed the same level of honest quality and regality. Although "Burn After Reading" was a successful black comedy romp, the characters and situations there expressed were so contrived and twisted that I had a great deal of difficulty getting immersed in the context.

I'm happy to admit that the drought is over, and "True Grit" is here. While a remake of a popular John Wayne ****c might not sound like the career stimulator that everyone expected, it absolutely is. "True Grit" tells the story of a young girl who hires a dangerous U.S. Marshall to hunt down the man who murdered her father. Hailee Steinfeld plays Mattie Ross, who sports a quick brain and an even quicker tongue. The interplay between her and the gruff, hardened Marshall (played by none other then Jeff Bridges) is entertaining and a joy to watch. The movie so comfortably oscillates between its sharp humor and its dark, intense action-based scenes. These swings in emotion never feel abrupt and are always appropriate. Additionally, no matter how dark the film became, it never lost the feeling of wondrous, grand scale adventure - in many ways, the film felt magical. It's just a damn good movie. The humor hits just as fast as the bullets do and Steinfeld delivers the performance of a lifetime and she's only in her teenage years. Kick back, and just witness what a good movie looks like, all the components are here.

Alright, here it comes.

My personal best movie of the year.

Ready?

I'm serious, this is it right here.

Best movie of the year.

3...

2...

1...

BOOM!

#1 INCEPTION | Directed by Christopher Nolan
"If we are to perform Inception we will need imagination."

What is Inception? What genre does it fall into - what audience is this intended for? While ****fying it as an action movie is a quick summarization, it hardly acknowledges the sheer story juggernaut that this film is. All things considered, in the duration of the movie's almost three hour running time, one will witness a love story, a crime mystery, a drama, an intellectuals chew toy and yes, an action movie. The screenplay took Nolan roughly ten years to write, and it shows. The film is incredibly precise about where it chooses to place its focus and at what point. It even distributes its time in these genres so well that it all swells to one masterful, multi fascinated adventure that I won't soon forget.

Something so intriguing about "Inception" is its ability to bridge the gap in so many audiences. Yes, there are car chases. Yes, there are adrenaline rush, high-stakes moments and overall I would ****fy this as an "action" movie. However, these moments are running parallel to the films effectively powerful, sad, emotional core. This is one of the few instances a movie with the aforementioned car chases and high stake pinches has been able to incorporate honest emotion and relatable sentiment. The suffering of our main character, Dom Cobb, played by DiCaprio, is believable and real. The droning tension between himself and the memories of his deceased wife, Mal (played by Marion Cotillard) never hampers or holds back the momentous events that unfold; if anything it propels them forward.

"Inception" has everything I could ask for in a movie. Heart-pounding (both emotional and adrenaline induced), the cinematography is fantastic, the special effects are visually stunning, the score is appropriately powerful and strong, and the performances never waver. What I am left with is a film that I can only nit-pick at. This is result of years and years of work, needle-like precision and grand creativity. Nolan's ability to inspire some freshness into the most bloated genre in the industry is honorable.

Recently, Inception has become the movie has the "cool thing to hate." Despite some scattered negative feedback, the praise speaks for what the film truly is. Four golden globe nominations, a #3 spot on IMDb's Best-of list and millions of dollars later, one thing is clear: "Inception" is not just a flavor of the week hit. This is a movie that will live among the pantheon of all-time greats. It is what I consider to be not just the best movie of the year, or my favorite action movie, but a film that sits comfortably in my overall top 5. Hot damn.

All right, well, thanks for reading! Inception haters can line up. :]

Just finished watching the Arrested Development series.

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I remember years and years ago, when I would sit down for evening re-runs of The Simpsons, I saw ads for this show called "Arrested Development." I saw these ads over and over again.

Years later my friend showed me out-of-context clips from the show and I simply did not see why it was so funny. The combination of the ruthless advertising, context-less scenes and a general dislike of Fox programs, I knew one thing was for sure: I didn't want to watch this show.

Alright, fast forward to the present. People have continued to tell me how wonderful the show is and that I must watch it. That, and it has a 9.7/10 on iMDB. I gave up. I began watching the show off of the Netflix Instant Play feature and -

BAM.

Funniest show ever made. Seriously. It's a great combination of innuendos, situational humor, current-event commentary and just a tad of slapstick for good measure. The result is a show that takes the dysfunctional family paradigm and just does itbetter.

Ultimately, I don't really have anything bad to say about the show. It has fantastic characters, (almost) never loses focus on the humor and never rehashes the same line too much. A writer at the San Francisco Chronicle, Tim Goodman says, "There are moments in 'Arrested Development,' that are pants-wettingly funny." You know what? The man's right.

Watch this show.

NOW!



The "regulations" and why they will cause me to leave GameSpot.

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1. time renders all things trite

I have been here for years now, I have posted in thousands of times, viewed more then two million threads and have really enjoyed my time here. I spent so much time on this site because it has been a supplement to one of my favorite hobbies: gaming.

Lately, however, these boards have been having the inverse effect on this hobby I enjoy so much. What once acted as a support has evolved to crutch, a crutch that is not holding my interests in the same way it used to.

Simply put: I am bored. The internet side of video games runs a nauseating circuit with reoccurring phrases, mannerisms and opinions. It's one big, massive, cliché that is beginning to drive me insane.

The following phrases and words have worn out their welcome:

"(blank) brings nothing new to the table."

"unprecedented."

"breath of fresh air."

"(blank) was a cinematic experience."

"(blank) vs. (blank)."

etc...

What is so wrong with these phases/words? Let me explain.

Using pre-made sayings and commonly used words breeds two kinds of actions. First, they encourage unimaginative writing and, asa result, unimaginative thinking. "I believe that (this game) doesn't have enough original concepts and ideas to highlight itself against the massive amount of other titles," soon turns into a simple, "(this game) brings nothing new to the table."

The second thing that happens is that you are on a board with 10,000+ people and everyone has the same damn thing to say.I don't come onto these forums to see a modified version of the same post when I click on a topic. I want to see original ideas, ways of expressing one's self. Ways that are different then my own. One of the best aspects of the internet is dying, rotting away on top of these words that are expressing the same thing over and over again.

2. Unpopular opinion be damned.

There is something that I like to call the common brainin System Wars, and (in some cases) the internet in general. People develop opinions about certain titles, developers and genres, and slowly those opinions are expanded. The two ways that this happens is through original development of the opinion or through repetition. Original development would include someone's own opinion being mutated or changed by way of people voicing their thoughts over and over again until we begin to agree with them purely because it what we have grown used to.

Before you know it you have a board full of people who have adapted this "common brain" and are all thinking exactly alike. It may seem strange, but here's a short list of things that have seemed to circulate around System Wars:

"Japanese RPGs contain characters depicting spiky haired boys who are confused about their sexuality."

"Western RPGs are the hight of the market and are the most developed."

"Popular = poor. Only the niche will survive."

"Disk swapping is a bad thing."

"The Mario series holds the best platforming and cannot be bested by any other of its kind.

"The Wii doesn't have any good games."

"'Real' action games will be defined by their ability to have intricate combos and combat that's ocean deep."

These are just a few of the many ideas that circulate through the minds, onto the keyboards and out into the vast abyss of the internet. Before you know it you have drones and drones of people who are just assemblages of other people's thoughts. If that's the case, then what is the point of being an individual? If you are one of the few who has denied these ideas, then damn what you say.

3. Age will illuminate all things...

It seems that as time goes on, we look back on things and say "Yeah, it was good back then." A most recent example might be my High School career. When I was involved in my work and practically drowning in it, I swore it was the most horrible thing in existence. However, I look back on it now an think "You know, that was actually one of the best times of my life."

To defy the first point I made about pre-made phrases: The grass is always greener on the other side. My thoughts about the old High School I attended apply directly to games as well. We look back at all of these series that have given us hours and hours of entertainment and which entries do we believe to be the best? The old ones.

Subject 1:Let's take Final Fantasy as a most recent example. With the launch of Final Fantasy XIII approaching next year, we find a series of posts not excited for the title - but the exact opposite - people are up in arms about the game. They want the old Final Fantasy formula back with the world map, non-linear design, etc. It's fine to express passion for the way a series used to be designed, but what about evolution?

Subject 2: Halo is one of the most commonly known series of all time, hell, my mom even known about Halo. What do people say about Halo? That the series has degraded over time and that Halo: Combat Evolved is still the greatest in the series. Does anyone even remember Combat Evolved? It had copy and paste level design, one horrible level in particular (The Library) and another level where you went backwards through the same level you just visited except it was at night.

The bottom line is that the series has only developed stronger and stronger as new entries have been release but people don't seem to acknowledge that. It's like they are so entangled with their memories of what once was that they don't even realize.

Shake hands with the past, but embracethe future lest we fall into a cycle of constant dissatisfaction.

4. The internet is a popularity contest and I am losing.

First and foremost: this is a personal matter. There really isn't anything that would drive you read any of this unless you are interested.

Basically, I am

Tired of being made so very, verysmall.

As I stated at the beginning of my post, I have been here for years and years. I have dumped hours onto this site expressing my views and trying to give something back to the community with my God of War III, Dissidia and SoulCalibur IV Hype Threads, but it has yielded me very, very little.

Fors some bizarre and unknown reason, my efforts to be a staple of the community have died. No one really respects me, agrees with me or has much regard for my posts and thoughts. That's fine but after so many years, I guess I was hoping for a little more. It's a silly thing to complain about, I know, but it's left me with a rotten taste of disappointment in my mouth and I am not satisfied.

Anyway guys, I don't really think I'm going to be around here much longer. I think I will finish up my God of War Hype Thread and throw in the towel. I have had a lot of fun over the years but it just isn't enough for me anymore.

So long, GameSpot. I hardly knew you.

- NAPK1NS


No one comments on my blogs.

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It makes me sad.

Someone else is all like, "OMG I LVL'D UP ON GAMESPOTT!!" and it gets eight billion comments.

I like to think that I make interesting and worthwhile posts.

But no one comments.

Maybe I'll kill myself or something.

I'm beginning to work on my next movie!

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After getting one film under my belt, I decided that I was not finished with film and that I had a lot more to express creatively. The first movie I made was called Dusk (see the trailer here) and I am proud of it. However, I really want to take this next movie to another level.

I have decided to start a Facebook blog type thing in order to track my progress with the film and I am super excited! :)

See it here.

Anyway, I guess not a lot of people will care but I was too excited not to blog about it!

Saw VI = 2nd best in the series

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Saw has finally reached the big number of six. that's a lot of slaughter, death, loss and twists if you ask me. I am a big fan of the series and after the poor entry of Saw V, I was little skeptical of the next one for obvious reasons. However, I walked out of the theatre very pleased. I haven't been this happy with a Saw film since 2005's Saw II.

The twist and pacing of the film were both incredibly well done. The series was given a new director and it really shows in the story and filming techniques. I am so happy that the series has been redeemed. Here's a list of all the gore scenes for the people who don't give a crap about the movies and just want to know about the gross stuff:

*** BIG SPOILERS ***

- Two people get screws drilled partly through their temples.

- A woman butchers off her own arm with a knife for the sake of winning a trap.

- A man, in the same trap, slices off some of his own stomach fat.

- A security guard is shot in the chest.

- A sound tech in shot multiple times.

- A detective gets his throat gashed open.

- Another poor detective gets stabbed multiple times in the stomach while the knife is twisted.

- A life-long smoker has to hold his breath. For each breath he takes a clamp around his waste will tighten. He can't hold his breath and gets crushed.

- People's skin is burned to a sizzle by hot steam coming from pipes.

- A woman is shot with what looks like a tent stake through her lower jaw into her head.

- Someone is hung with barbed wire and dies immediately.

- People from the same insurance company are chained to a rotating playground carousel and are systematically blown apart by a shotgun.

- A man gets screws drilled through his hands multiple times.

- Someone escapes the reverse bear trap (as seen in Saw I) and gets his face torn open.

- Finally, someone is stabbed with multiple plungers and his whole body is injected with acid. He burns from the inside out.

*** END BIG SPOILERS ***

Wow, that's enough violence for 20 action movies!

Uncharted 2 OMGWTFBBQ!

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I beat the game a few days ago and been spending sometime leveling up in the multiplayer. I am also going through the single player to get some trophies with the tweaks and guns that I bought. I really wanted to experience the game fully before I made my call on the game, but...

Seriously. Top five of the generation.

Amazing. You should play it.

Don't have a PS3?

Get a PS3 to play it.

:D

New games play'd. New movies watch'd. Reviewing them both.

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1) Final Fantasy II

This game is a pain in the ass. There are random battles everywhere, the difficulty is all over the place, it assumes you know things and there are some generally bad mechanics overall. But... I kind of liked it to be honest. There's a certain sense of accomplishment you get from these types of games that's pretty satisfying. The story in general is pretty bare bones but it was just interesting enough to make me want to know what was going to happen next. The soundtrack and neat leveling system were the highlights of the game.

Final Score: 8.0/10

2) Batman: Arkham Asylum

Oh, hell yes. Almost everything about this game is amazing. The pacing is practically perfect and makes you hate putting the controller down. The story while a little crazy is pretty interesting and fun. The exploration was probably my favorite part. I never felt like going off the beaten path would be a waste of time. Pretty much if you think there's a hidden Riddler trophy in that corner, there is. The only disappointments lie in it's conclusion. A rushed end cutscene and a dissatisfying face off with you-know-who highlighted the only weak points of this fantastic game.

Final Score: 9.5/10

3) Halo 3: ODST

This series once again proves that it has a fantastic formula that still works even with a different atmosphere. The game is a lot of fun, there isn't a whole lot more to say. It's without doubt the toughest Halo game yet and the OSDTs just don't take shot a plasma like the good ol' Spartan does. The pacing is a little off with some shootouts lasting far too long, and there are some rough polish issues here and there. Oh, also, best Halo score ever.

Final Score: 9.0/10

4) Rob Zombie's Halloween II

Simply put, this is one of the most vicious and brutal horror films ever made. As a hardened horror vet, this movie left me a little shaken. The movie does a fantastic job of instilling a sense of dread and fear upon you through its assault on the senses. I personally enjoyed this... others may not. I love horror movies and this was a well made horror movie!

Final Score: 9.0/10

5) Zombieland

Seriously, go see it. One of the best zombie movies ever made. Some of the most fun I've had in a movie theatre.

Final Score: 10/10

Farewell Xbox Live. I have loved you well.

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I am very sad right now. :(

I brought all of my gaming equipment with me to college fully expecting many great gaming times. For the most part I am getting just that, except for one thing: Xbox Live.

You see, the school runs through a proxy server. This would not matter if the Xbox wasn't stupidly designed and you can't actually configure proxies under the network settings. That's right. If you ever encounter a proxy server with you Xbox, then goodbye Live.

Of course my PS3 is treating me just fine. There's an option to enter in proxies right on the menu. Hell, there are even proxies on the goddamn Wii. What is the deal, Microsoft? Lately I have been enjoying a good amount of LittleBigPlanet online (so super fantastic) and Resistance 2 (my second favorite online shooter next to Halo 3).

It makes me deeply, deeply sad that I cannot participate on ODST's awesome Firefight mode. It's a mode friend and I have dreamed about since Combat Evolved, and it hurts bad that I won't even get to (really) play it this Tuesday.

I am rendered sad.

You will be missed. :(

Xbox live 2004 - 2009.